Egg Nutrition Center Blog

Veggin’ Out

IMG_2772-21-150x150Today’s post is another from Carla Schmitz.  Carla is a dietetic intern working on her MS in Human Nutrition through the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Coordinated Program. She will be eligible to sit for the RD exam in December of 2013, but in the meanwhile she will be spending a few weeks with ENC. Carla is a full-time foodie with a passion for teaching others to cook. She hopes to use her passion for good food and healthy living  to develop recipes, menus, and dietary protocols for patients with cancer or chronic disease.

Today is the last day of Vegetarian Awareness Month and as we heads toward colder and shorter days, we also want to be mindful of balanced eating as the holiday season approaches. The “State of the Plate” study found that only 6% of individuals achieve their recommended target for vegetables and only 8% achieve their recommended target for fruit in a typical day. (1) Considering the addition of more plant-based meal choices, even if only occasionally, can be a great way to try out new healthful eating habits focused on boosting fruit and veggie intake. And, the good news is: fall fruits and vegetables are tasty and full of nutrients.

Like any other area of nutrition, different diets show different benefits. Vegetarian meal patterns are no exception. A recent study found that their vegetarian participant group had a lower all-cause mortality rate compared to their non-vegetarian group.(2) However, there is a body of literature showing that a high-quality protein breakfast can increase satiety, lending a hand in moderating post-breakfast energy intake.(3,4).  Yet, we often hear about the challenges of getting enough high-quality protein worked into vegetarian diets.  Here’s a great post by Spicy RD on adding protein at breakfast for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores!

As health professionals, it is important to educate our clients about the benefits of balanced and mindful eating. Remember, every client will have his or her own preferences. Always work individually with your clients on their diet choices to help them in their overall lifestyle. Here are some ideas and information for you to use with clients interested in vegetarian options:


Other ways to celebrate:

  • Organize a meatless potluck where everyone brings a vegetarian dish to share
  • Put those end-of-season veggies to good use and host a veggie-swap
  • Try a vegetarian option when dining out
  • Share favorite vegetarian recipes with family and friends


1. State of the Plate: 2010 Study on America’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, 2010. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Web.

2. Orlich, M. J., Singh, P. N., Sabate, J., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Fan, J., Knutsen, S., et al. (2013). Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in adventist health study 2. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173(13), 1230-1238. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6473; 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6473

3. Leidy, H. J., Ortinau, L. C., Douglas, S. M., & Hoertel, H. A. (2013). Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 97(4), 677-688. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116; 10.3945/ajcn.112.05311

4. Leidy, H. J., & Racki, E. M. (2010). The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents. International Journal of Obesity (2005), 34(7), 1125-1133. doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.3; 10.1038/ijo.2010.3

Author: Guest Blogger